RE: Diversity on the Python sprint in September
Oct. 4, 2016, 7:19 p.m. (updated: Oct. 4, 2016, 8:25 p.m.)
As an organizer, I feel compelled to respond to the accusations about this event not being diverse enough.
The Python community prides itself as being very inclusive and careful about biases and -isms. I feel amazing when coming to a Python conference and seeing it is not a men's locker room party. Women are speakers, women contribute to open source projects, the conference attendance suggests they feel welcome and comfortable as part of this community.
Guido himself announced he is actively seeking to add female core contributors. This is not a dry wish. Raymond Hettinger is tutoring two promising ladies to become active contributors as we speak. Both were invited to join us during the sprint. One could not come, one did. During that time she fixed an issue and contributed to one accepted PEP!
Why did we even have a separate sprint?
- Community. The sprints at the end of PyCon are great but they mostly get the same people in the room year after year. Many of the most active contributors never attend conferences. The goal with this sprint was to bring together the most active core developers, most of whom have never met!
- Focus. When we have sprints at the end of a conference, many of us are pretty tired and less productive than we could have been without the late dinners, endless hallway sessions, and so on. Many of the sprinters spend the bulk of their time tutoring newcomers. This sprint was deliberately not tied to a major conference, for the most active people to be able to ship as many Python 3.6 features as possible before the feature freeze.
- Communication. There are tremendous benefits to getting everyone together in one big room. Conversations that drag on on python-dev can be solved quickly in person. Even contentious debates become faster, easier, and more civil. And meeting face-to-face helps us all feel more connected to the rest of the team.
As you can see, this was an exclusive event by design. The bar chosen by me was literally sorting contributors via the number of commits they made over the past year and inviting the Top 20. This meant that many well known contributors didn't even get the invite this time. The point being: we want Python 3.6 to be the best release ever. If you were already spending your personal time and effort towards that goal, we will help you do that by organizing an in-person meetup.
Did we succeed? All numbers say YES. Would we like for the active contributor population to be more diverse? OF COURSE. Are we doing something to change this? Again, YES. I am very happy to be part of a community that keeps an eye on the diversity efforts 24/7. Let's just make sure we assume good will by default. If you have any further questions or concerns, feel free to reach out.